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Change Your Story, Change Your Outcome - 12/3/2014 -


Change Your Story, Change Your Outcome

be.group, a 2014 Association Media & Publishing EXCEL Award winner, switched from a reliance on local print and outreach campaigns (outbound marketing) to a focus on its website (inbound marketing) and boosted site traffic by 55 percent and web conversions by 700 percent.

By Brittany Trevick

Imagine spending millions of dollars on advertisements and receiving zero return on investment. Now imagine turning your marketing approach on its head, focusing on the consumer rather than the product, and creating a tremendously successful marketing approach.

This is exactly what be.group, a senior living community provider in California did with the help of Imagination Publishing, a Chicago-based content marketing firm whose mission is creating personalized content for customers and clients. be.group, a 2014 Association Media & Publishing EXCEL Award winner, switched from a reliance on local print and outreach campaigns (outbound marketing) to a focus on its website (inbound marketing) and boosted site traffic by 55 percent and web conversions by 700 percent.

Peter Herrnreiter, senior director, digital marketing intelligence at Imagination Publishing, outlined this case study during his presentation, "The Right Content Delivers Acquisition and Engagement," at the Association Media & Publishing Chicago Conference on November 18 at the American Dental Association.

"Outbound marketing is very expensive, not effective, and perishable," says Herrnreiter. Inbound marketing, however, "is helpful and findable through the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content."

To revamp be.groupís marketing tactics and create personalized content for its customers, Imagination Publishing focused on four main points. The first was building an audience persona. "The key is to really understand the customerís goals," says Herrnreiter. "What is it the customer wants to get?"

Imagination Publishing helped be.group discover more about its audience by creating three primary personas with each having its own specific needs. The groups were 70-plus seniors, their adult children, and professionals such as physicians and real estate agents.

The organization determined each group needed specific targeting. From there, be.group created a buyer journey for each individual group to understand their decision-making process and what answers they needed with regards to selecting a senior living community.

"Everyone has a discovery to make on their journey to solve a problem," says Herrnreiter. "You canít create content if you donít know what the customer is asking."

The 70-plus age group was evangelistic about community benefits. They were looking for an organization that could convey the positives about a senior living community and instill in them emotions regarding the organization. The adult children wanted to guide their loved ones to a community that would take care of them and that they would enjoy. Lastly, the professionals wanted an organization they could recommend to their clients.

After creating these three unique personas, Imagination developed a site design that educated each audience group with the specific answers they were looking for. They started by breaking the website into four steps: Finding the Right Fit, Choosing a Community, Making it Happen, and Why the Right Fit?

At each step, site visitors receive multiple pieces of content uniquely designed to dispel senior living myths and educate them. The site was built on this journey, but its frequent use by an audience of seniors was also kept in mind. Larger font sizes, muted colors, and easily understood tools help visitors navigate easily.

The third part of the journey included the creation of content. This information centers on related topics to help each persona feel confident in their decisions regarding senior living. Downloadable forms on the site collect relevant user data, while email campaigns keep site users looped in on be.group content. Printable guides are available so seniors and other visitors can print out information and peruse it on their own time. Videos, photos, resources, and quizzes are also available on the site.

To further enhance the site experience, be.group featured existing residents as reliable sources to show potential customers the positive aspects of joining the community. This information made the site more interesting, allowing potential senior customers to be excited about joining. Creating something exciting for a brand is vital to attracting customers, Herrnreiter says.

"People may want trends, but they want a story," he adds. "You need to humanize the brand and not be dry."

Finally, the Imagination team needed to align the marketing and sales team; they wanted the sales team to buy into what the marketing team was doing. To do that, they started passing information on prospects to the sales team after they believed that person had consumed enough content. After receiving the information, the team continues connecting with the prospect, doing such things as scheduling a tour of the community. Including the sales team at this key stage allowed be.group to continue creating positive perceptions of its brand for its audience and turning those prospects into residents.

Ultimately, be.group changed its advertising from outbound marketing to inbound marketing and experienced huge amounts of success, which continues today.

Companies and organizations looking to obtain the same type of success need to rework their strategy and ask themselves what their audience truly needs and how they can use inbound marketing to help customers along the decision-making process, Herrnreiter says.

"Outbound marketing is a bullhorn approach to reaching your audience. Itís one message for everyone in the room," he says. "Be a magnet rather than a bullhorn and pull people in instead of pushing them away."

Brittany Trevick is the assistant content editor at American College of Healthcare Executives. Association Media & Publishing sincerely thanks her for covering this event for our members who were unable to attend.


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